Important Cat DNA Testing 

By  Staff Writer

Important Cat DNA Testing

In an age where human DNA testing is a painless, quick procedure, it is unsurprising that similar tests exist for our feline friends. Cat DNA testing is a procedure that was first developed in 2012, and it has now been perfected into a process that is upwards of 90% accurate in determining a cat’s true ancestry.

But why go through this seemingly novelty procedure with your cat? The fact of the matter is that many cat owners are misled by the appearance of their cats. Sometimes, “fancy” breeds like Abyssinians and Maine Coons are left to be strays who end up breeding with other more common cats. The result is a furry friend who can look like a certain high class breed, but in reality have 50%, “common” DNA. This test allows the pet owner to determine the true pedigree of their cat. Additionally, some diseases, like Polycystic Kidney Disease, can be prevented against by DNA reports that show a cat’s genotype for the disease.

The way the test works is really very simple. Most cat DNA companies send the pet owner a set of swabs so that a buccal sample can be taken- a cheek swab, in other words. The swabs are then sent back to the company, who test the DNA from them against hundreds of different unique DNA markers in order to accurately determine true ancestry. It is important to select a company that sends high quality swabs with cytological brushes, which provide high-quality buccal samples that do not quickly degrade.

When deciding on a company to use for cat DNA testing, there are a few questions that the cat owner should ask themselves:

  • Is the cat DNA testing company well-established in pet DNA testing?
  • Does the company match DNA samples against as many databases as possible?
  • Does the company use swabs with cytological brushes?
  • Does the company provide clear instructions on how to perform the swabbing procedure?
  • Is the cat DNA company located in the United States?

It is important to keep in mind that not all tests are successful. In some cases, a set of swabs may simply not provide enough DNA for the testing to be completed fully. In these cases, the pet owner will typically be notified and, depending on the company’s policy, a new swab collection kit will be sent out either for free or for a small fee.

The pet owner may also elect to have their cat’s DNA transferred into breed databases in order to continue to increase the accuracy and scope of the test. This is an option that most, but not all companies offer.

Whether you are simply curious about your cat’s true breed or you want to test for disease genotypes, cat DNA testing is a safe, easy method of learning more about your best friend.

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